New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Educational Professionalization with ‘ARCS’

Ilse Bogaert, Antwerp Maritime Academy (Belgium)


I went to look for motivational theories in order to set up educational professionalization sessions that would be maximally attractive and useful to teaching staff. The ARCS model by John Keller appeared to be a substantially interesting and practical step-wise approach for the matter.

At Antwerp Maritime Academy a particular set of Standards (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping) underpins education. Programs in nautical sciences are offered accordingly, largely influencing contents and to some extent also instruction methods.

On the level of evaluation, however, over the years some room has been left for pedagogic choice and innovation. And yet, as it is already highly structured and regulated, members of the teaching staff keep an eye on the practical usefulness of a specific method for their daily teaching practice.

How then can we, regarding evaluation methods for instance, design an educational professionalization session in such a way that teaching staff decides the session will be useful and so be eager to cooperate? Experience learns it takes three essential steps: 1. teaching staff jointly determining the session subject, 2. offering staff the opportunity to participate in the session and freely collect ideas and, 3. leaving to staff some room for evaluation of the session on several occasions afterwards.

In this modus operandi the instructional design theory ‘ARCS’ as developed by John Keller is put forward as motivation-centered approach. The model proves to be very functional: Attention of teaching staff is raised, they feel involved in the process and see the Relevance of what is being told for their own teaching practice. They are Confident that the content of what is being told will be accomplishable, feasible, achievable. They express (during the implementation and afterwards) to what degree they think the session appeared to be Satisfactory.

In fact, this ARCS methodology is useful for all developers of instruction materials that want to draw attention, show relevance, find confidence and generate satisfaction with participants. By spreading the word it will become possible for others to apply the methodology in all kinds of instructional matters and circumstances.

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